Carnival band owners looking ahead to 2019

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Carnival band owners have already begun forward planning and marketing for 2019's Road March, its outgoing president branding this year a "success" despite government's non-involvement.

"Carnival was a success. We have already started the forward marketing and planning for the 2019 Road March. It was a good year for us. We actually controlled and owned the entire road parade," said Dario Tirelli, departing head of the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association.

"We are involved in picking a new slate of executive officers right now. In two weeks there will be a new slate of officers for the Association."

One source intimately involved in the Carnival festivities told Tribune Business: "It was unfortunate that government didn't assist us with police on the streets. We had to pay, which meant we only had a limited number of police on the streets, which was not a good thing.

"There were irregularities, and even accidents on the parade. The Philantra Group hosted the concert for the two nights, but the whole week of activities was done by private promoters. The parade is controlled by the band owners. The government didn't put a dime into it."

Michael Pintard, the now-former minister of youth, sports and culture, indicated earlier this year that the Minnis administration intended to completely privatise Bahamas Carnival ahead of the 2018 festival.

In 2015, the Government spent $11.3m on the inaugural event, going over its initial budget of $9m. The total cost of the first carnival was $12.9m, with the rest covered by sponsors.

In 2016, the festival incurred a cost of $9.8m, $8.1m of which was subsidised by the government. The 2017 financial report has not been released. However, Paul Major, the former Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) chairman, said $4m was spent on the 2017 version.